The question is: How do we view nature, and equally importantly, how do we view ourselves with respect to nature?‘ Martin Heidegger is the person who is most identified with the perspective we are about to discuss. It is known as Phenomenology.
Phenomenology: the belief that the world around us can only be understood through our lived experiences. The world does not exist outside of those experiences. We impose understandings and interpretations on that world, or worlds, based upon the values, perspectives and beliefs we hold. The relationship between ourselves and nature is a symbiotic one (i.e. mutually dependent) and not one of independence.
Heidegger‘s principal argument was that we cannot understand nature other than how we experience it. Whilst the argument that different people will have different views about the importance of places and objects is reasonably uncontentious, you might ask, ‗are we moving towards a position that simply admits that all we are likely to agree upon is that we are likely to disagree upon the values we are prepared to place upon various objects?‘ If so, how is this going to help individuals and corporations make choices over the use of natural resources? Heidegger does not offer a magic formula, but he does offer a way of thinking, a way of seeing that could prove helpful.
Heidegger‘s concern was with what he described as the ‗enframing of technology‘, or what we might call a technology mentality, i.e. the seeing of nature as purely instrumental, as simply a means to an end.
If an object is viewed in purely instrumental terms then it possesses no worth beyond its functional use, that is, what might be obtained for it by either selling it as it is or converting it into another form of the tradable object. It is purely a means to an end.